HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros announced today the 2014 field staffs for all eight of their minor league affiliates. The 2014 managerial corps is made up of Tony DeFrancesco (Triple A Oklahoma City), Keith Bodie (Double A Corpus Christi), Rodney Linares (Class A Lancaster), Omar Lopez (Class A Quad Cities), Ed Romero (Class A Short-Season Tri-City), Josh Bonifay (Rookie Level Greeneville), Marty Malloy (Rookie Gulf Coast League) and Johan Maya (Dominican Summer League).
The Astros will return 44 coaches from the 2013 season, including two 2013 managers of the year (Josh Bonifay, Rodney Linares), two coaches of the year (Darryl Robinson, Gary Ruby) and one athletic trainer of the year (Grant Hufford). Last year, the Astros set a franchise record when the club's top six minor league affiliates all qualified for the postseason. Additionally, the Astros became the first organization to have six domestic affiliates make the playoffs since the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003.
TRIPLE A OKLAHOMA CITY REDHAWKS
Tony DeFrancesco returns for his fourth season as the club's manager at Oklahoma City, his 20th season as a minor league manager and his 30th as a player, coach or manager in professional baseball. In 2013, DeFrancesco led the RedHawks to their second consecutive winning season and their first division title since 2010. Oklahoma City's 82 wins ranked second in club history for a single season and paced the Pacific Coast League. DeFrancesco skippered the Astros Major League club on an interim basis for the final 41 games of the 2012 season after being named to the post on Aug. 19. He led the club to a 15-15 finish (beginning on Sept. 1) and went 16-25 overall. Prior to joining the Astros organization in 2011, he was with Triple A Sacramento in Oakland's organization, where he served seven seasons (2003-07, 2009-10) as the River Cats manager, guiding them to six first-place finishes in the PCL. In addition to his time in the Majors with the Astros in 2012, DeFrancesco also coached in the Major Leagues as Oakland's third base coach in 2008.
Steve Webber returns for his second season as the RedHawks pitching coach after coming to the organization from San Diego, where he spent nine seasons as a pitching coach from 2004-12. Leon Roberts returns to Oklahoma City for his third season as hitting coach. Jeff Murphy, who was a bullpen catcher and catching instructor with the Astros Major League club in 2013, heads to Oklahoma City for his first season as catching coach. Athletic trainer Mike Freer returns for his 25th season with the Astros organization and his 18th at the Triple A level. Alex Pounds will serve as the club's strength and conditioning coach for the second consecutive season, and his fourth season overall with the Astros.
DOUBLE A CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS
Keith Bodie will return as Corpus Christi's manager for his third consecutive season, which will mark his seventh consecutive with the organization. His clubs have won division titles on nine occasions in his 17 years as a manager, while the Hooks have posted the top record in the Texas League in both of Bodie's seasons at the helm. In 2013, Corpus Christi won a franchise-record 83 games and captured both the first and second half titles in the Texas League. He also served on the U.S. Team coaching staff at the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Bodie was named the Texas League Manager of the Year in 2012 after leading the club to an 81-59 record and their first playoff berth in six years. Bodie has served various roles in professional baseball for five different organizations (Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City, Washington) since his coaching career began in 1983.
Pitching coach Gary Ruby returns to Corpus Christi's staff for his eighth consecutive season as a pitching coach in the Astros organization and his third at Corpus Christi. Ruby was named the 2013 Texas League Coach of the Year after his staff led the Texas League in innings pitched (1255.0) and wins (83), while ranking second in walks per 9.0 innings (2.7). Tim Garland returns for his second season as the Hooks hitting coach, a position he held for seven seasons (2006-12) in Oakland's minor league system. Garland's Hooks led the Texas League and ranked third in the minors with 158 home runs in 2013. Tom Lawless returns to the Astros as the Hooks infield coach and has been with the Astros organization since 2009. In 2013 he served as Triple A Oklahoma City's infield coach. Athletic trainer Bryan Baca returns for his second season with the club and his eighth overall with the Astros, while Trey Weidman will serve as the club's strength and conditioning coach for the second straight year and his third with the Astros organization.
CLASS A ADVANCED LANCASTER JETHAWKS
The 2013 California League Manager of the Year, Rodney Linares, returns for his third season at the helm of the JetHawks and his eighth consecutive season as a manager in the Astros system. Linares led Lancaster to a league-best 82-58 record in 2013, a year after steering the club to the 2012 California League Championship title. The 2014 campaign will be Linares' 16th in Houston's organization, where he's served a number of roles. Prior to his first managerial post in 2007 at Rookie Level Greeneville, he served as Class A Lexington's hitting coach from 2005-06 and as a scout and hitting coach for the Astros Dominican Republic operations from 1999-2004.
The JetHawks will also have Don Alexander (pitching coach) and Darryl Robinson (hitting coach) returning in the same roles they held last season. Alexander has been a pitching coach in the Astros system since 2005, and has spent a total of 17 years in Houston's organization. Robinson has been the JetHawks hitting coach since 2009, and last year was named California League Coach of the Year after his JetHawks led the minors in runs (976), walks (669), on-base percentage (.384) and OPS (.853). Former Astros catcher (1984-88) and bullpen coach (2002-09) Mark Bailey enters his 16th year in the Astros organization and will concentrate on coaching the club's catching prospects as catching coach. Grant Hufford is set to serve his seventh season as an athletic trainer in the Astros system. He was named the California League Trainer of the Year in 2013, his first season with the JetHawks. Mark Spadavecchia returns for his second season as strength and conditioning coach with Lancaster.
CLASS A QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS
Omar Lopez returns to the River Bandits for his second season as manager, a year after leading the club to the Midwest League Championship. This season will be Lopez's seventh consecutive year as a manager in the Astros system. He managed Rookie Level Greeneville for two seasons (2011-12) and also managed the Venezuelan Summer League Astros in 2008 and the GCL Astros from 2009-10. While with the GCL Astros, he was named the Astros 2010 Player Development Man of the Year. Lopez has been with the organization since 1999.
Filling out Lopez's staff will be Dave Borkowski (pitching coach), Joel Chimelis (hitting coach), Vince Coleman (outfielder/baserunning developmental specialist), Michael Rendon (athletic trainer) and James McNichol (strength coach). Borkowki, a former Astros pitcher, will be the Astros Class A pitching coaching for the fourth consecutive season, while Chimelis will be returning for his ninth season (2006-13) in the Astros system. Coleman, who is returning for his second season with Quad Cities, played 13 seasons (1985-97) in the Major Leagues and recorded 752 stolen bases in 1,371 games, which ranks sixth all-time and tops among players with 13 or fewer seasons. Coleman is also the only player in Major League history to steal over 100 bases in three consecutive seasons (1985-87). Rendon, who has been in the Astros organization since 2011, is being promoted from Tri-City where he has served as athletic trainer for the last two seasons. McNichol is entering his second year in the Astros system after spending 2013 as a strength coach with the Gulf Coast League Astros.
CLASS A SHORT-SEASON TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS
Former Major Leaguer Ed Romero returns for his second season as manager of Tri-City after leading the club to the New York-Penn League Championship title in 2013. The 2014 season will be his 22nd year as a professional manager or coach. He is five years removed from the Astros Major League staff, having served as the club's bench coach in 2009 and the third base coach in 2008. He has managed a total of 12 seasons in the minor leagues between the Houston, Milwaukee and San Diego organizations.
Romero's staff will consist of Chris Holt (pitching coach), Russ Steinhorn (hitting coach) and Corey O'Brien (athletic trainer). Holt joins the Astros organization after spending the last two season as an associate scout with the Orioles. He pitched in the minors for Pittsburgh in 2002 after getting drafted by the club out of Flagler College that year. Steinhorn returns to the Astros organization for his second season after most recently serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Delaware State. O'Brien will enter his first season with the ValleyCats after serving the last two seasons as Rookie Level Greeneville's athletic trainer.
ROOKIE LEVEL GREENEVILLE ASTROS
Josh Bonifay is returning to Greeneville for his second season as manager. In his first ever season as a manger in 2013, Bonifay won the Appalachian League Manager of the Year award after leading the Astros to their second-best regular season record in club history (38-30) and a berth in the Appalachian League Championship Series. An eight-year minor league veteran, Bonifay began his coaching career as a player/coach in the Pirates organization (2007-09) before joining Houston in 2011. He was the hitting coach for Greeneville in 2011 and spent 2012 as the hitting coach for Class A Lexington, where he represented the Legends as a coach on the 2012 Postseason All-Star Team. Bonifay played in 812 minor league games, which included a stint with Double A Corpus Christi in 2006.
Joining Bonifay's staff will be Josh Miller (pitching coach) and Cesar Cedeno (hitting coach). Miller, a former Astros minor league pitcher, played with Bonifay at Corpus Christi in 2006. The 2013 season will be his second as a coach in the club's minor league system after spending two seasons as a professional scout for the Astros (2011-12). Cedeno returns to Greeneville for his third consecutive season. The four-time All-Star played 12 seasons (1970-81) with the Astros and collected five Gold Gloves as an outfielder. Following his playing career, Cedeno served as a coach or instructor for the organization for 10 seasons (1990-94, 1997-2001).
ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE ASTROS
Marty Malloy returns to the GCL Astros for his second season overall and his first as manager after spending last season as the club's hitting coach. Malloy played 12 seasons (1992-2003) of minor league baseball and appeared in 35 career Major League games while playing for Atlanta (1998) and Florida (2002).
Hector Mercado (pitching coach) and Ramon Vasquez (hitting coach) will be joined by coach Gordy MacKenzie, athletic trainer Christian Bermudez and Julio Diaz Berrios (strength coach). Mercado has been coaching in the Astros system for four seasons, which has included three seasons in the GCL (2010-11, 2013) and one year at Greeneville (2012). Vasquez played professionally for a total of 16 years, including nine seasons in the Major Leagues with Seattle (2001), San Diego (2002-04), Boston (2005), Cleveland (2005-06), Texas (2007-08) and Pittsburgh (2009). MacKenzie returns to the GCL Astros for his sixth consecutive season with the club and his 14th with the Astros organization. Bermudez is returning for his second season with the GCL Astros. Diaz Berrios joins the GCL Astros for his first season after spending 2013 as the strength coach at Quad Cities.
ROOKIE DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ASTROS
The Astros Dominican Summer League team will be managed by Johan Maya, who enters his second season as manager after serving two seasons as the infield instructor for the club. Rick Aponte returns to the DSL Astros for his second straight year as the club's pitching coach. Aponte has worked 37 seasons in the Astros minor league system, which included a 14-year run (1993-2006) in the Dominican. Luis Mateo returns for his sixth season as the club's hitting coach. The instructor positions will be filled by former Astros minor leaguer Juan Zapata (outfield) and Sixto Ortega (catching). Ambiorix Reyes will remain on the DSL staff as the athletic trainer, while Geremias Guzman will return for his 10th season as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the DSL Astros.
2014 MINOR LEAGUE STAFF
COORDINATORS, ROVERS & MEDICAL STAFF
Field Coordinator Paul Runge
Pitching Coordinator Dyar Miller
Hitting Coordinator Jeff Albert
Roving Pitching Instructor Doug White
Special Asst., Player Development Dan Radison
Infield Instructor Adam Everett
Special Assignment Coach Morgan Ensberg
Strength & Conditioning Brendan Verner
Medical Coordinator Jamey Snodgrass
Rehab Coordinator Daniel Roberts
TRIPLE A OKLAHOMA CITY
Manager Tony DeFrancesco
Pitching Coach Steve Webber
Hitting Coach Leon Roberts
Catching Coach Jeff Murphy
Athletic Trainer Mike Freer
Strength & Conditioning Alex Pounds
DOUBLE A CORPUS CHRISTI
Manager Keith Bodie
Pitching Coach Gary Ruby
Hitting Coach Tim Garland
Infield Coach Tom Lawless
Athletic Trainer Bryan Baca
Strength & Conditioning Trey Wiedman
CLASS A ADVANCED LANCASTER
Manager Rodney Linares
Pitching Coach Don Alexander
Hitting Coach Darryl Robinson
Catching Coach Mark Bailey
Athletic Trainer Grant Hufford
Strength & Conditioning Mark Spadavecchia
CLASS A QUAD CITIES
Manager Omar Lopez
Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski
Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis
Outfield/Baserunning Coach Vince Coleman
Athletic Trainer Michael Rendon
Strength & Conditioning James McNichol
CLASS A SHORT SEASON TRI-CITY
Manager Ed Romero
Pitching Coach Chris Holt
Hitting Coach Russ Steinhorn
Athletic Trainer Corey O'Brien
ROOKIE LEVEL GREENEVILLE
Manager Josh Bonifay
Pitching Coach Josh Miller
Hitting Coach Cesar Cedeno
ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE
Manager Marty Malloy
Pitching Coach Hector Mercado
Hitting Coach Ramon Vasquez
Coach Gordy MacKenzie
Athletic Trainer Christian Bermudez
Strength & Conditioning Julio Diaz Berrios
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE
Manager Johan Maya
Pitching Coach Rick Aponte
Hitting Coach Luis Mateo
Outfield Instructor Juan Zapata
Catching Instructor Sixto Ortega
Athletic Trainer Ambiorix Reyes
Strength & Conditioning Geremias Guzman